Baseball America’s JJ Cooper is reporting that minor league baseball’s rosters could be expanding from where they have been in the past. You’ll need a subscription to Baseball America to read the article, but the short of it is that moving forward, organizations will be able to have up to 180 players on their minor league team rosters instead of an initially proposed 150 players.
In the past, full season teams had rosters of 25 players, while rookie-level teams were at 35 players. With the elimination of non-complex level rookie teams, that meant for some teams there were probably 40 fewer total roster spots (35 active spots, and then a few injured list spots). For teams, like Cincinnati, who had two non-complex level rookie ball teams, it meant about 80 fewer roster spots available.
It’s worth noting that teams in the Dominican Summer League do not count towards the 180 players an organization can have. That number only applies to domestic teams. Also worth noting that, at least as things seem to be planned today, if a team would like to have two Dominican Summer League teams, they can do so. Cincinnati used to have two such teams – the DSL Reds and the DSL Rojos – but when they purchased the now defunct Greeneville franchise that became the Greeneville Reds, they eliminated the Rojos from the chain.
When it comes to teams stateside, there also is nothing that limits a team from having two complex level teams. Several organizations already have them. The total player pool for an organization would need to remain the same, though – 180 players. It’s tough to make the numbers work for six teams (four full season teams, then two rookie teams) and stay at the 180-player number, but in theory it could be possible.
As of now, I have not heard anything as to whether or not the Reds organization will be looking to add a second team in either the Dominican Republic or at the complex in Goodyear. Neither would surprise me, though, given that when they added the franchise in Greeneville they noted that they believed having more opportunities to get playing time for players was something they were looking for, and with that team now gone, along with Billings, either of those additions could provide more chances for both on-field development for players as well as simply having more players if the team were to add a second DSL team.